Word Obsession Leads to Linguistics Research Fascination

I have recently become fascinated by linguistics research and certainly it is an outcome of my obsession with new words. There is a direct correlation as it is a scientific study of the human language. Mindspot Research conducts intercept research with young female shoppers and restaurant diners fairly often. This has allowed me to observe first hand their ability to have a full conversation with me while simultaneously texting. And, if I pause they notice and will actually lookup. There are hundreds of articles, and occasionally I mention in a blog my concern for the level of socialization that may go missing because of shortcodeslinguistics research and being conditioned to say something in 140 characters or less.


I’m not a hater, and yes follow us on Twitter. But here is what I am saying and it’s going to surprise a lot of people by how subtly I am going to say this: Young people- texting is limiting your vocabulary and you are less likely to use correct grammar. New research suggests that you’re limiting your capacity to accept new information.


I read an article in Science Daily about linguistic research designed to understand the effect of text messaging on language that found that texting has a negative impact on people’s linguistic ability to interpret and accept words.


“The study, conducted by Joan Lee for her master’s thesis in linguistics, revealed that those who texted more were less accepting of new words. On the other hand, those who read more traditional print media such as books, magazines, and newspapers were more accepting of the same words. Lee suggests that reading traditional print media exposes people to variety and creativity in language that is not found in the colloquial peer-to-peer text messaging used among youth or ‘generation text’. She says reading encourages flexibility in language use and tolerance of different words. It helps readers to develop skills that allow them to generate interpretable readings of new or unusual words.”


In a nut-shell texter need to see a word more often to be able to accept it as a possible word.


This is a hot topic for linguistics research. Another study by a doctoral candidate measured the number of adaptations of grammar example “gr8” versus “great,” tweens typically use and then administered a grammar test. There was a correlation between high usage of text adaptations and a decline in grammar scores. Researchers also suggest that these text adaptations coupled with conforming to the technology used for texting may be affecting their off-line grammar skills as well. I can tell you it does impact the amount of singular attention young people are willing to give you.


Communication is changing and self-expression is likely ticking up as grammar declines. I am suggesting if you are a frequent texter, you may want to download a dictionary app or at least read The Mindless Babble Blog, so you can add new words to your vocabulary. It will likely improve your ability to be more accepting of new and made-up-words. Words like Mindspot. We’re here to help you.


by Lynnette Leathers CEO of Mindspot Research, a division of Mindspot, Inc.

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